On Thursday evening, I was returning home from the Highland Park Adult Senior Citizen Center after being informed by a community member that the neighborhood council meeting had been canceled due to a lack of a quorum. For those who don't attend a lot neighborhood council meetings, that means that not enough elected members of the council showed up for business to be legally conducted.
On my way back home, I saw the flashing of a ladder truck's lights outside Frank's Camera Shop on North Figueroa. Naturally, I pulled over to learn about the nature of the incident.
A couple of teenagers were on the opposite side of Figueroa, watching the mostly stationary scene. A ladder had been extended to the top of Frank's and, from the proper angle, you could see two fire department crew members standing atop the roof.
There was no smoke or fire, however, and also no incident commander on hand to field questions from nosy individuals. After making a lap around the building, and hanging out on the sidewalk for an hour or so, I headed back home in hopes of finding an e-mail from the fire department's automated alert system that would provide a few clues about what was happening.
However, there was no alert to be found.
Early Friday morning I checked with the captain at LAFD Fire Station 12, who told me that, not only did he not know what was happening at Frank's, he wouldn't tell me if he did. He gave me a phone number for LAFD's arson unit, which was out of service (as was the one I found online after a Google search).
I made a call to LAFD's Media Relations Division, where I was connected to the always cooperative Brian Humphrey. After looking over the incident logs for the previous evening, Humphrey said that, as far as the records were concerned, nothing happened at Frank's on Thursday evening. In fact, he said it was an especially slow day for Station 12, with only three incidents on record. He did, however, provide me with the up-to-date number for the arson unit, which I called only to get an automated message.
Remembering that the LAFD captain I spoke to earlier had told me he wouldn't provide me any information over the phone, I figured it may be worth asking about the incident in person.
The captain, who preferred to not have his name printed, asked if I was the guy who had called earlier and again declined to provide information about the incident. I suppose I can't blame him, or the many public safety officials in his position; their jobs are difficult enough without having to deal with the media. He sent me on my way. As I walked down the sidewalk, the captain walked out of the station and called me back. Perhaps he was overtaken with the Christmas spirit?
Unfortunately, after looking through his own log book, he was unable to find any incident at Frank's. He noted, though, that the firefighters on the previous shift may have been conducting a training exercise. Given that it was an especially slow day, he said it was possible that was the case.
So, what happened at Frank's last night? For now, I can only share a story about trying to find the story. Hopefully, soon, I'll have the story.